“If you operate a business, you will–at some point–have a workers’ compensation claim.”
That’s a message broker Terry Stotka reminds his clients of on a regular basis.
“So let’s make sure you have the best program,” he said. “And the best program is not price; it’s really the safety, claims, and other additional services that a company offers.”
For 30 years, Terry has worked as an insurance broker in Northern California, and first placed a policy with State Fund 23 years ago. In his current role, he owns and operates the Bay Area-based DHW Insurance Brokers, and while he places business across multiple lines of insurance, he says workers’ compensation is his passion.
Partnering Through Purpose
But, he will be the first to tell you it’s more than a business relationship or even being an appointed broker; it’s a partnership.
One way Terry points to this partnership is when he talks about his passion for workers’ compensation. That passion is very familiar in tone to what we do here at State Fund.
“It’s fueled by a deep desire to help people,” he said. “In workers’ compensation, I get to help the injured worker get back to work, help employers needing guidance in navigating the complex workers’ compensation system, and assist claims adjusters in keeping open communications with all stakeholders.”
Another element is helping to make workplaces safe, which is a large part of our purpose here at State Fund, and something Terry says mirrors his purpose at DHW.
As one example, he points to Underwriting–the unit he is most in contact with.
Beyond determining risk and setting a price based on that risk, Terry says our underwriters also take time to educate him and the DHW staff on what makes a good risk.
“It starts with the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP),” he said. “Many companies often use parts of their IIPP, but not all of it. Underwriting has taught us that companies need to use all of their IIPP effectively if they want to be considered a safe workplace. We apply this fact and other things Underwriting has taught us to all of our clients when considering their level of risk.”
Beyond Underwriting, Terry is also complimentary of our Loss Prevention staff, which he says uses a friendly but firm approach when working with clients.
“They play by the book,” he said. “They’re not going to pass over things during an inspection. But, they also want to work with the client to resolve all issues before OSHA gets involved.”
Communication is Key
|“I can prove over a substantial period of time that we brokers will bring things up to State Fund, and they care enough to listen first and understand, but also take action.”
Terry Stotka, DHW Insurance Brokers
If there’s one thing Terry can point to that makes him want to keep coming back to State Fund, its communication. For example, he says the Claims staff is quick to respond when a client has a question, and is always willing to provide not only a status update but also the strategy for bringing it to resolution.
He once helped resolve a client issue involving an audit premium that was so past due it was sent to an attorney to pursue payment. Despite this, he reached out to our Collections and Premium Audit staff, and partnering with both units, was able to work out a resolution that did not require the attorney.
Communication goes beyond just placing business and working out disputes. Terry is a member of our East Bay State Fund Broker Roundtable, a group of brokers that meets regularly with our staff and discusses the issues that impact the relationship between brokers and the company. “State Fund cares about our feedback,” he said. “I can prove over a substantial period of time that we brokers will bring things up to State Fund, and they care enough to listen first and understand, but also take action.”
When we talk about our goal to become California’s workers’ compensation carrier of choice, Terry Stotka, providing one broker’s view, thinks we are already on our way. His view is based on more than two decades of experience working with us. Whether it’s trying to resolve a client issue, placing insurance, or taking on an idea generated at the broker roundtable, Terry sums up his experience with State Fund in one sentence.
“State Fund often succeeds in helping solve our need. And, our need is generally the need of the client.”